Tag Archive | Marsanne

2009 Maison Bleue JaJa White

Most wine junkies drinkers have their stories of that little tasting room that they happened upon, or visited on a whim, and were delighted by the result.  Here’s one of mine.

Maison Bleue is a winery that Jon and I happened upon during a trip to the Yakima Valley during Red Wine and Chocolate weekend in 2011.  I blogged about that day here.  We had the opportunity to meet the winemaker, Jon Martinez, and his story is pretty interesting!  You see, he used to be a dentist…  No, seriously!  Jon (the winemaker, not my husband) originally owned a dental practice in Missouri, but decided he wasn’t satisfied with that, so he began helping out a winemaker friend and taking courses in Enology.  He moved out to Washington to start his winery, which focuses on the Rhone varietals (and he throws in some Chardonnay).

When we were tasting the Maison Bleue lineup, we really enjoyed chatting with Jon and hearing his story.  For a man who has found success relatively quickly in the wine industry, he is humble and friendly, and his passion for his product shines through.  I hear that he is opening a new tasting room this spring in Walla Walla, and I hope one day to be able to check that one out too!

Tonight I’m sipping the 2009 JaJa White, a blend of 67% Roussanne, 28% Chardonnay and 5% Marsanne.  The wine is a very pale yellow, and it has a faint floral nose.  It tastes of crisp citrus with pear and floral tastes, with a light minerality.  There is a light oak on the finish, which gives it a wonderful complexity without overdoing the oak.  It is a fantastic wine!

2009 JaJa White, by Maison Bleue Winery

2009 JaJa White, by Maison Bleue Winery

Maison Bleue only produces about 2200 cases overall, but for a small winery, he is increasing his distribution pretty quickly.  I am frequently surprised at how often I see their wines in various wine shops I have visited, and he has distribution in several other states too!  So if you see any of his wines, I hope you will check them out!

Mother’s Day Spring Release

Well, it finally came – Mother’s Day weekend. For Jon and me, that means Spring Release. Some of you might imagine that is some sort of break time for the kids, but since Jon and I don’t have any, we think in terms of a break time for the adults. And all that is just a convoluted way of saying that the local wineries released new wines this weekend. Jon’s mom came up to visit on Saturday with Jon’s second cousin Anne, who I have never met and Jon hasn’t seen in about 10 years, and we went on a mini-tasting tour.

We took Linda to Glacial Lake Missoula Winery last spring on Mother’s Day weekend, and she was an immediate convert (it isn’t hard to do). Last fall, we got to taste GLM’s enrobed Marsanne, which is a Marsanne white wine varietal wine with the skins from the Cabernet Sauvignon grape added in to provide a red color and some robustness in flavor. When we barrel tasted, we could already tell that it would be amazing. So, we have been waiting ever since. And we thought the wait was over!

So we started the day at Mt. Baker Vineyard.  Mt. Baker is the oldest winery in the county, and they do a lot of different wines.  They are all decent, but there are a few standouts.  They have a new Riesling out, with is a semi-sweet and very nice. The red that I like the most is the Malbec.  It is quite smooth, with a jammy, berry flavor.

On our way back in from Mt. Baker, we saw the sign for Willow Tree Vineyard, a new winery that opened in April.  Their debut wines are a Chardonnay, a Viognier, a Carmenere and a Syrah.  Their whites are both good and true to how a Chardonnay and a Viognier should taste.  I’m just not the biggest fan of Chardonnay and Viognier.  The Carmenere is very good.  Carmenere is a grape grown widely in Chile, and it is referred to there as the lost grape, because for years they had it planted all over but thought it was Merlot.  Once the Chileans realized that it was a different varietal, they really capitalized on the distinction.  In the US, Carmenere is still mostly a blending grape, but I think it is excellent as a standalone varietal wine, and it is nice to see when it is offered.

The Syrah at Willow Tree is a big heavy, jammy wine, with a strong fruit taste.  Jon really liked it, but I thought it was a bit much for me.  They will be releasing a rose soon called Blue Heaven, which is a semi-sweet Riesling mixed with Blueberry wine, and we got to taste it before its release.  Wow.  I can’t wait until that one comes out!

After Willow Tree we headed up to Glacial Lake.  They have their 2007 Deluge out now, which is a bit different than prior years because Tom added Malbec to this vintage.  It was delicious.  And the Harbor Light is new too, and as always, it is a standout.  But the bad news is that the label for the Marsanne didn’t get approved, so we still can’t get it!  As soon as the label gets its approval, we’ll be able to pick up our bottles.  And meanwhile, we wait, and dream…